Kevin Garnett came into the NBA in 1995, 17 years ago, at a time when there was hand-wringing galore about what would happen to the league when Michael Jordan eventually walked away and the knucklehead generation took over. It was Garnett straight out of high school in '95, followed the next year by Bryant from Lower Merion and Allen Iverson from Georgetown, but really, from hip-hop.
The kids, as it turns out, were all right. And in Garnett's case, that kid-turned-grown-man is still lashing out, still thumping his chest and screaming and inflicting all manner of basketball abuse.
Still chasing another championship before it's all over. Chasing it while he still can.
The star of the playoffs isn't Durant or Paul or anyone on the Heat. It isn't one of the up-and-comers, the next generation that's pushing out what, in the mid-1990s, had been the NBA's most pivotal crop of young players, maybe ever. The star of these playoffs is the old agitator, Garnett, who tore a possibly irreparable hole in the Sixers with 27 points and 13 rebounds Wednesday night in a 107-91 beatdown that gave the Celtics a 2-1 series lead.
"We worked so hard to get where we are at," Garnett said quietly, almost in a whisper, in the visiting locker room afterward. "And we got there together."